Family of UK mosque-goer set on fire demands justice

Sun, 26 Mar 2023 8:44 GMT
'Any kind of attack like this on anyone is disgusting, evil, cowardly especially targeting pensioners,' says 30-year-old son.
Family of UK mosque-goer set on fire demands justice

The son of a 70-year-old British Muslim in Birmingham who was set alight near his home while walking back from the local mosque called for the most severe sentence available for the perpetrator.

Mohammed Rayaz, a Muslim resident of the West Midlands city, was set on fire by 28-year-old Mohammed Abbkr, police say.

Rayaz was attacked while walking from the mosque to his home on Shenstone Road in Edgbaston.

The shocking incident, which was the second one of its kind recently, left Rayaz heavily injured and receiving treatment at the hospital.

In the first interview to the media by a member of Rayaz's immediate family, Anadolu spoke to his son, Adnaan Riaz, 30, over the incident that occurred just a couple of days before the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Adnaan said his father, who started working at a very young age, was now a pensioner after he retired from a meat factory.

On the attack, which took place on Monday, he said Rayaz had been targeted while at the mosque and was followed to Shenstone Road, where he was set on fire.

"Then, being on fire, on his own (he) managed to take off his jacket and top," Adnaan said, adding that local people later helped him get home.

"A passer-by who is a local walked with my dad to my house which is around the corner and that's when I opened the door and took dad inside."

'Disgusting, evil, cowardly'

Adnaan said his father's burns are "really bad," with serious wounds on his face, head, and hands.

Since then, Mohammed Rayaz has been under treatment at the hospital.

Before the attacker was identified, police told the family that the case was "really serious."

"Any kind of attack like this on anyone is disgusting, evil, and cowardly, especially targeting pensioners," added Adnaan.

Ramadan is a beautiful and important time in Muslim life, he noted, mentioning that his father is a religious Muslim who fasted frequently and always prayed daily.

"Justice is needed," he asserted, stressing that the attacker, who has been caught, should receive the "most severe sentence available" within the British courts and justice system.

The West Midlands Police have said Abbkr was alleged to have sprayed a substance on two men and set them ablaze in separate incidents in Ealing, London, and Birmingham on Feb. 27 and March 20.

He is charged with two counts of attempted murder for the London and Birmingham offenses, police said on Thursday.


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